A former BBC Top Gear presenter is among motoring heritage enthusiasts objecting to England’s oldest filling station in Herefordshire being turned into a house.

The proposal to convert the grade II-listed Glendore in the Golden Valley village of Turnastone was submitted for planning permission in November by its owners, a Dr and Mrs Clark.

It was first used as a filling station in 1919 and its period pumps still stand in the front garden. The house itself, now unused for over a decade, is thought to be around 100 years older.


Among objections so far published on Herefordshire Council’s planning webpage, Tiff Needell, who signs himself off as “racing driver and TV presenter”, wrote: “England’s oldest surviving petrol station should be preserved as just that.

“It should be a museum! Where’s the imagination? Not a home please! Madness!”

He claimed the building’s historic features would “become just a token rather than living history” if the change of use were approved.

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Now aged 72, Mr Needell presented Top Gear between 1987 and 2001, and later also Fifth Gear on Channel 5. Earlier he briefly raced in Formula 1, and also competed in rally cross and the Le Mans 24-hour race.

Motoring journalist, author and publisher Philip Porter meanwhile claimed that not to preserve “this unique motoring monument” would be “sacrilege”.

“If it is a matter of money, I am confident that the funds can me raised and I would be prepared to lead such a crusade among our well-healed (sic) worldwide clients to preserve such a motoring shrine,” he added.


Peter Ashley, author of English Heritage’s The English Buildings Book, said the garage “has been a vital part of our unsung heritage and should be preserved at all costs”.

Golden Valley resident Tom Harris said the Clarks' bid did not commit them to preserving the features of what the building’s official heritage listing describes as “an early and increasingly rare example of an early 20th-century rural petrol station”.

And fellow resident David Jackson said: “I don’t think the new owners have paid any attention whatsoever to its special historic status, which will be lost forever.”

Consultation on the proposal has closed, and the council gives its target determination date as December 15, 2023.